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Mali Insurgent Group Accepts Cease-fire but With Conditions

FILE - Militiaman from the Ansar Dine Islamic group sit on a vehicle in Gao, in northeastern Mali, June 18, 2012.

The head of Mali's top Islamic body says insurgent group Ansar Dine has accepted a proposed cease-fire.

Mahmoud Dicko, president of Mali's Islamic High Council, told VOA's French to Africa service on Sunday that he asked Ansar Dine for the truce and received a letter of acceptance from the group's leader, Iyad Ag Ghali.

Dicko, in a phone interview, noted that Ghali's letter included a line saying Ansar Dine "rejects whoever rejects Sharia." It was not clear if Ghali was setting a condition for the cease-fire.

Ansar Dine was one of three Islamist militant groups that took control of northern Mali in 2012. The groups were ousted in a French-led military operation the following year, but have since continued to attack civilian, military and U.N. peacekeeping targets in the region.

The U.S. government named Ghali a "specially designated global terrorist" in 2013.